Xeloda and Avastin Combo Better Than Xeloda Alone for Metastatic Disease

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Xeloda (chemical name: capecitabine) is a chemotherapy medicine used to treat advanced (metastatic) breast cancer. A study found that a combination of Xeloda and Avastin (chemical name: bevacizumab), a targeted therapy medicine, stopped breast cancer from growing longer than treatment with only Xeloda in women diagnosed with metastatic disease.

Avastin is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used in combination with Taxol (chemical name: paclitaxel) to treat people with metastatic HER2-negative breast cancer who haven't received chemotherapy yet. Avastin also is used to treat other advanced cancers, including lung, colon, and kidney cancer.

Taxol alone or Xeloda alone is used to treat metastatic breast cancer. Doctors wanted to know if adding Avastin to one or the other of these chemotherapy medicines could offer more benefits. The RIBBON-1 study was designed to answer this question. More than 1,200 women being treated for metastatic breast cancer participated in the study. Some of the women received either a combination of Taxol and Avastin or a combination of Xeloda and Avastin. Other women received Taxol or Xeloda combined with a placebo (dummy) treatment.

Early results from the RIBBON-1 study showed that the combination of Avastin and Taxol increased the time before the cancer began growing by 5 1/2 months compared to Taxol alone. Based on those results, the FDA approved the combination of Avastin and Taxol as a treatment option for some women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. The new results reviewed here show that the combination of Avastin and Xeloda offers similar benefits. Still, neither combination -- Avastin and Taxol or Avastin and Xeloda -- was shown to increase overall survival.

If you're being treated for metastatic breast cancer, you and your doctor will consider a number of treatment options that might make sense for you. A combination of Avastin with a chemotherapy medicine is one choice that you might try. Your doctor's recommendation will be based on published research, your doctor's experience using Avastin to treat other people diagnosed with breast cancer, and YOUR unique situation. Together, you and you doctor can make the best treatment choices for YOU.

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